Sharing: Suburban Ecology I by TheCartographe

I found this amazing bit of writing the other day on TheCartographe and just needed to share it with you!  As a lover of place and environment and the way that spaces effect us, I adore what’s happening on this blog: “TheCartographe is about the curation of the environment: the selection of images, texts, and ideas that is the formation of a landscape. Topography is physical, but landscape is always psychic.”

This blog is not to be missed. Enjoy!

 

Suburban Ecology I

July 9, 2014.

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Some millennia before the present, when the sea was in places it currently is not, it might have been that Anne Barton’s yard was a natural beach of smooth-hewn stones — perfect and round, themselves looking for all the world like fat droplets of water thrown up and clinging on the grassy shore.  The blue velvet easy chair stood primly on the rocks, taking the sea air like one who — feinting — is afraid of the ocean.  But Anne’s yard was not really a beach, of course, and the chair moreover took no solace from the pretend game of seaside release and introspection.  It did not appreciate the scene before it: the crisp break of sidewalk and swell of asphalt.  It was aware only of the thing it could not see — the blockish, secluded bungalow beyond the beachhead, where in the downstairs sitting room there was a precisely chair-shaped depression in a blanched shag carpet the colour of a watermelon where the meat comes to the rind.

I was in this house once, seven or eight years ago, when for one or another reason I  was collecting a size-adjustable mannequin from the Vietnam-era parlor upstairs, located at one end of a hallway encased exclusively by mirrors which, when shoved with some force, would open to reveal narrow closets stuffed with outerwear, shoes, and unlabelled boxes.  The front door, up a half-flight of steps from the lawn and partly concealed by an globular rhododendron, opened onto this hallway, and pointed inside toward the kitchen at the house’s rear.  There, I remember, Ms. Barton, an elderly woman who — to me — has never visibly aged, remained sitting at a card table while she asked me, standing against the entrance to the hall, if I would consider volunteering for her Sunday School.  I can’t recall answering the question.  Instead, I remember leafing through the records — none of which I recognized — contained in a cardboard box which sat on a brass-framed, stackable chair in the parlor, across the way from the kitchen.  I waited until Anne’s granddaughter, my associate, reappeared with a small plastic container filled with a multitude of compartments for pins, all heads different colours, and we departed with the rattling mannequin in parts under our free arms.

At that time, Anne’s garden was not half-covered in rocks.  In fact, it was a serene, if somewhat weedy glade, set apart from the street by the low boughs of a blue-needled pine tree which I did not recognize and now assume was originally decorative.  I lived — still live — in the house beside Anne’s; somewhat newer, somewhat more modish, my father would exasperatedly but quietly rake pinecones and long, browned needles off our lawn from September to Christmas.  At that time, Anne’s glade had real seating: a chipped, white wooden loveseat over-thrown by a modified trellis, and an elaborate swing — also wood — which reminded me always of my brother’s books on medieval implements of war.

It was one summer when I returned from university that the pine tree had been felled — its little ecosystem of sputtering grass and shed needles replaced by a neatly edged bed of lava rock.  Two ceramic pots had been placed off-centre on the wide stump, and in them the plastic-coated cardboard tags that identify greenhouse plants sprouted up like tombstones behind small, flowering stalks.  It was just last summer when the first five metres of Anne’s lawn had been dug up and replaced with the round stones.  At the same time, things began appearing on her driveway.  First the loveseat and swing, which soon disappeared, and then boxes of clothes, which would likewise appear in the morning and have vanished upon my return home in the afternoon.  Then, a tarpaulin tent appeared over a metal pole frame in the middle of the driveway, and a 1995 red Ford mustang would regularly pull in and out of it, as if on the tide.  This largely concealed the garage door, which remained closed during all this time.  I did not see Anne, though my father told me she continued to live there, and the cars that came and went (I noticed only the red convertible) were the vehicles of family and friends — or of the tenants downstairs who had moved in to the bungalow’s expansive basement.

The chair knew very little of this, being limited to the influence of the downstairs tenants and its sidelong views of sporadic children’s play in the tenants’ backyard daycare, a business Anne surely appreciated because of her attachment to children and their ideal upbringing.  When it was removed, I think, its first logical concern must have been the expected weather, and secondly the simple sign hung across its back — “FREE” — which would surely give anyone’s self-esteem a miserable pummeling.  It was, I doubt, hardly troubled by the premise that in millennia to come, it could be considered a distracting embellishment on the ecology of the house — a throwaway decoration not unlike the faking of a shoreline in a time of changing seas.

-tC

Sharing: Natural Disaster by Nika Ann Rasco

Here’s another wordpress find that was just too good not to share, and a perfect Valentine’s Day treat.  It’s written by Nika Ann Rasco, who writes over at Chasing Rabbits.  Make sure you head over and check it out!

 

Natural Disaster

tangled up from the twist
of tornado, all the best
parts of your disaster
rest, stone upon stone.

we curled ourselves into one.
limp bodies piled into hills
of the dead, I couldn’t
unwrap all your thoughts of
me as quickly as you shake
the keys of untuned piano.

your eyes are still watching
for an unnamed god, your chin
held determined to the upcoming
wind. I got you on my back

watching moves and licking lips.
You sing the chimes from too
sore lips, cracked and chapped
my words blown out of portion.

(c) Nika Ann Rasco

Sharing: Evolve by Lyttleton

A wonderfully evocative poem by Lyttleton over at 10cities10years, which is an incredibly interesting blog about living in 10 cities in the U.S. over the course of 10 years.  Check it out!

Evolve; or: The Divergence of Species

We can get over anything
given enough time and miles:

I was a fish with sea legs
and you a protozoon
still beneath the wave of blankets
and this was our first goodbye
of many.
I’s a goner and you’s still there
replicating like teardrops
in a bus station
where we once kissed and spread
like meiosis;
now half the man I once was.

I don’t want to be remembered
for how I’ve changed,
unless I’m your genetic match.
But you’ve also evolved
and suddenly I’m a species unknown,
unique,
extinct.

 

Evolution of Fish

Sharing: The Widow’s Pension from Postcards from Thursday

I was completely enthralled with this poem by Alison over at Postcards from Thursday and just needed to share it.  Enjoy!

 

Grandma's hands

The Widow’s Pension

A dead finch in each hand,
bile and memory heaving out,
years, decades of speaking loudly
and weeping into book binding,
though she once ached to be left
with scratches along her ears,
to be the vandal, to touch
the bottom of the river.

She’s lived her life one miracle short,
but, for herself, she will say at least this—
she has seen beauty in a quilt of torn blouses,
found that it’s the slow pour that spills over.

She trampled bees on the night when she woke
and left that bed. No leaf of Eve, no more blessed thing.
Radiant is all her grayness.

 

Alison, who writes Postcards from Thursday, also includes original photography on her blog.  The above photo is one of her creations as well.  Check out her moving photography and poetry.  It’s well worth a look!

Sharing: Great Pieces of Writing from WordPress Writers

As the new year approaches, it’s time to look back at some of the highlights of the past.  Here are some exceptional pieces of writing from our fellow wordpressers, in no particular order, but well worth a re-read!

An Explanation, Of Sorts by Ingrid Sykora

Perseid by WolfnWings

Her Best Poetry by ianstarttoday

Street Performer by Daniela at Lantern Post

Enjoy!

Sharing: An Explanation, Of Sorts by Ingrid Sykora

I never cease to be amazed by the gems found by wandering around wordpress.  There are some amazing writers out there.  Some pieces are so great that I just need to share.  Like this one:  An Explanation, Of Sorts (Flash Fiction)  by Ingrid Sykora.  Check it out!

An Explanation, Of Sorts (Flash Fiction)

by ingridsykora

I wish I could say that my father is a cruel man. To say he was cruel would be a way to rationalize his behavior, to make him seem more human. It would be a way to make sense of him, to categorize him and thus feel safe, knowing he has been placed in a sort of box, even if that box is only a label, a word, a concept, nothing more. It would be a way to imprison him, in a sense.

But he slips beyond categorization as effectively as he slips past any other kind of prison. For thousands of years, people have tried to imprison him. In mythology, his story is repeated endlessly: the imprisonment of Lucifer, the castration of Set, the acid fate of Loki, the casting of Cronus into Tartarus, &c. In human form, he has been put into solitary prison a half dozen times, has been killed by poison, electrocution, beheading, firing squad, and sunk to the bottom of the sea with weights. He returns in a different form every time, but it does not matter–eventually, his transgression mount, and he is killed or imprisoned again. But it only lasts until he escapes, and leaves behind nothing but a fuzzy memory, and people wondering, “Wasn’t there someone in that prison cell? Who was I bringing this meal to?”

My father whispered in Hitler’s ear, though granted, Hitler did not take a lot of encouraging. My father inspired Stalin and Mao. He drove the making of the atomic bomb. He nurtured the religious extremism that led to the crusades, the terrorists attacks, the holy wars, the kool-aid drinkers. My father is so twisted and evil that he came up with the concept of God, such that people would be inspired to commit atrocities without hesitation or remorse. Any civil war, any partisan disaster, any mass murder or serial killer has his roots in my father’s dark embrace.

x

Back in the eighties, my father decided that it was time to produce offspring. Why, when heroin addictions, AIDS, and class warfare were a few of the many rampant problems in the world, he felt the need to add greater chaos and darkness, is beyond me. He had never before held an interest in such things, and I have vowed to discover his reasoning before I die. He bedded a woman who was institutionalized for a triple homicide.  I was born nine months later by caesarian, and the woman died–though how much the doctors intended to deliver her to such a fate is unclear.

It would seem that goodness, as it is typically identified, is a spontaneous genetic quality. My father has not an ounce of goodness in him, and my mother certainly lacked it, even when turning her attention on herself. But from an early age I have resisted my father’s call, the call of my blood, the call that encourages chaos, destruction, murder, murder, murder.

The abilities that come most easily to me are those that are along this line. It takes a single look to kill a man. It is almost effortless to start a fire that cannot be put out by mere water. Telekinesis is second nature, and sharp objects respond with particular alacrity. I can read tarot cards or tossed crystals or tea dregs in any dark manner I wish and it will come true. Harder to produce is an aversion to a coming danger or crisis.

But, whether it’s youthful rebellion or a true difference in nature, I have no desire to follow in my father’s footsteps. I direct people away from harm when I can. I protect them when I see the need. I guide them away from dark thoughts and shadowed roads.

I have taken it upon myself to reverse every plotline my father has set into motion, to snap every thread he has spun. My name is Eris, and this is my story.

Sharing: What Reconciles Me by John Berger

“What reconciles me to my own death more than anything else is the image of a place: a place where your bones and mine are buried, thrown, uncovered, together.  They are strewn there pell-mell.  One of your ribs leans against my skull.  A metacarpal of my left hand lies inside your pelvis.  (Against my broken ribs, your breast, like a flower.) The hundred bones of our feet are scattered like gravel.  It is strange that this image of our proximity, concerning as it does mere phosphate of calcium, should bestow a sense of peace.  Yet it does.  With you I can imagine a place where to be phosphate of calcium is enough.”

John Berger